Monday, August 20, 2007

It's not 'gay'.

First, I will not tell you what to believe. You do not have to think being gay is right or wrong; it is your opinion and you must make it.

Okay, that said, everyone, no matter their orientation, should have the right to learn in peace. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We hear about harassment and learn about harassment all the time, so why does it still happen? Over a third of all Lesbian-Gay Bisexual Transsexual (LGBT) students have reported that they were physically harassed. They have to go to school everyday in fear; something that nobody should have to do. "We were picked on. We were called 'queer' and a host of other homophobic slurs. We were also used as punching bags by our classmates, just for being different," said a college student about high school. That student is not alone. In fact, about 97% of students (in public high schools) report regularly hearing homophobic remarks from others. The "typical" high school student hears about 25.5 anti-gay remarks every day. Hearing the phrase "that's gay" or "you're gay" only enforces the meaning of the word as 'bad' or 'stupid'. If you think that school staff will help, guess again. 53% of students report that they heard a teacher make a homophobic statement. Now, about 80% of prospective teachers coming into the work force have negative attitudes toward LGBT people. And, even worse is the fact that teachers fail to intervene 97% of the times when a slur is made about gays. Because of the constant harassment many of these students skip school or say they won't continue onto college. (20% of LGBT students skip at least once a month because they don't feel safe.) So, any of you remember when the word gay meant 'happy'?

With all this discrimination going on all around them, LGBT students might seek guidance from counselors. Sadly, less than 20% of counselors have received training for helping LGBT youth. And if that's not a problem, having two thirds of counselors who dislike LGBT people certainly is.

Even when these kids go home there are problems. 25% of lesbians and 19% of gays report physical violence from family members because of their orientation. Because of physical violence LGBT kids are more likely to try to commit suicide. Of all the "successful" teen suicides 30% are gay/lesbian. They are 4 times as likely to attempt suicide; that means every 5 hours and 48 minutes. Sorry, but no one, I repeat no one, should ever be knocked so low were all they feel like doing is dying. Respect, people. Where has it gone? Racism is frowned upon, so why isn't being a homophobic? They go to school; picked on. Go home; harassed. "I just began hating myself more and more, as each year the hatred towards me grew and escalated from just simple name-calling in elementary school to having persons in high school threaten to beat me up, being pushed and dragged around the ground, having hands slammed in lockers, and a number of other daily tortures," said a gay high school student. You don't have to believe what they feel is right, you don't have to even like them, but please just respect them. They are people just like us. They have feelings. We have the power to hurt each other, but we also have the choice not to.
We hear people say how with all the wars and violent acts occurring, it seems like there isn't enough love in the world. Hey, there is more love, just not the kind you were thinking of. Love. Why should it matter who loves who? It's love. And we need more of that.

Here is a list of LGBT people who made history.

If you don't already, encourage your school to have a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) program because studies show that students felt safer when they had one.

Also, there is an event on April 18 every year called the Day of Silence, check it out.

To all you girls out there who are lesbian, bisexual or transsexual: stand tall and be proud of who you are. It's hard when people say that being you is wrong. But chin up sisters, and keep showing the world that you are beautiful.

Peace, friends.


Anonymous said...

I feel a bit excluded here. You said "to all you girls who are lesbian and transsexual" well, what about bisexual? And I agree with you. There is too much homophobic. People say "Why are people gay" well, that's the same reason why they're straight.

Anonymous said...

My High-school is brand new and I noticed that a couple of people are trying to form a gay/straight alliance. I'm not gay but I except anyone who is. I will be joining this club if it gets passed and if it doesn't get passed, I'll sure protest it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not religious, but AMEN to that!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

thanks for this eye-opening article!

An Independent Girl said...

wow. thats great!!!!!!!! thank you new moon for voicing this and making it clear. i hope in the future more people will understand and there will be less fear and cruelty because of misunderstanding.

Another Anonymous said...

Theres a few boys at my school who other people say are gay, and sometimes they make fun of them. Wheather they are gay or not doesn't matter. It's horrible to be treated this way. My dad has a friend who is gay, and they are both really nice poeple and recently they adopted thir second child. People say "eww" to gay and transsexual and bisexual WAY too much. Awesome article.